Claire Ball-Smith from the University of York and Keither Parker from York St John University, on behalf of Yorkshire Teacher Enrichment Partnership (YTEP)

Each university is an advocate for teacher education and training. In collaboration with school partners they nurture potential applicants as under-graduates/post-graduates, including career changers, and continue to support graduate teachers as they embark on their first teaching roles as NQTs.  This provides a local draw to trainees whether they live in the immediate locality or not.

Each university is dedicated and confident in the quality of their existing practice. Provider and partnership school input is welcomed and integrated into future ITT/ITE development. Challenges are faced together, as evidenced by current Covid-19 arrangements. Despite the most unprecedented of circumstances, our in-depth, long-developed relationships and working practices have continued to yield effective provision.

Adapted arrangements implemented by our universities, School Direct partners and partnership schools have successfully enabled trainees to ‘step up’ to 2021’s challenges. Those same personal characteristics exhibited during the recruitment process by applicants have thus stood out in practice as trainees with partnership support. In part, this is because of each University’s protocols, and the attention placed on the attributes and values of each candidate.   Alongside the reliable consistency and involvement of our partner schools in the training process, YTEP based trainees are supported to ensure they excel – many are employed in our local and regional schools.

YTEP’s intentional motivation is to serve all schools within our existing networks and beyond the city. Strategic planning and implementation are regular features of meeting agendas and action points, to enable the city and region’s schools to feel confident that teacher supply is constant and strong. The main catalyst for YTEP formation was the trust and commitment exemplified by the University of York and York St John University to bring together strategic partners to recruit and train high calibre trainees for the benefit of all schools in our region. Through YTEP, we also develop opportunities for sharing expertise of both school and university based colleagues and facilitate networked collaboration to happen within the varied ITT landscape.

When planning the programme for the year, School Direct providers and the Universities already work closely to ensure there is synergy around what the ITE programme looks like. There is a mutual aim to embed current practice, link to the embedded CCF, and give trainees ample opportunity to gain a rich and diverse form of school experience.

Each university offers subject and wider expertise that enriches programmes. For example, at the University of York, science and maths trainees access expertise in the national STEM centre, whilst language trainees access expertise in the national centre for excellence for language pedagogy. At York St John University trainee teachers benefit from, for example, interdisciplinary research expertise in areas like EAL, SEND and inclusive education.  Our partnership also includes expertise in designated Research Schools.

There is a recognition that trainees can learn from whatever mistakes they might make as long as they are reflective, collaborative and professional. The programmes are designed to be guided by robust pedagogical research which is carefully reflected on by learning how far it works in practice. The programmes are also informed by wider disciplinary expertise at each university such as in psychology, sociology, philosophy and related disciplines to education.

We enjoy shared values where the systems are about people and relationships and where the quality of training and diversity is valued with the highest priority. Both universities provide extra layers of care and help for trainees that partner schools cannot provide as easily, such as financial and wellbeing student support systems. Equally, knowing the people who work on the ground in our region’s schools remains the key to a trainee’s successful ITE journey and early career progression.

Strong ITE partnerships are essential in the development of teacher education and training.  Our current partnerships provide rich opportunities to capitalise on the expertise of both school and university-based colleagues for the benefit of our trainee teachers. The challenges involved in developing our future teaching workforce are faced together, as evidenced by current Covid-19 arrangements.

Despite the most unprecedented of circumstances, our in-depth, long-developed relationships and collaborative working practices enabled us to make timely necessary adaptations to our programmes that have supported our trainees to meet current challenges. This has resulted in our trainee teachers having opportunities to develop further and unanticipated skills, that will support them in becoming the exceptional teachers we strive for. The reputational profiles of the Universities, and the YTEP school partnerships, have been earned and grown over decades, and need to be respected, protected and supported.

The current ITT system is able to sustain the capacity to deliver enough high-calibre trainees and flex to future priorities within our region. It is YTEP’s view that the ITT system is therefore not a ‘market’, and does not need reviewing. The universities in York, alongside our local authority and our school partners already implement a consistent and effective ITT offer which is thorough and supportive. No short cuts are taken in terms of trainee support because of the level of professional and pastoral care granted to all those involved in the recruitment and training programmes.

We recruit in-line with regional demand, and with the expert guidance provided by admissions teams in each organisation. The Universities and their partner schools possess local insight and bespoke regional knowledge, placing school partnerships at the heart of our provision to ensure our trainees have high quality learning experiences. It is this approach that lays the foundations for successful teaching careers. A one dimensional, ‘one-size fits all’ approach to ITT curriculum, ITT model, and ITT numerical recruitment would be extremely detrimental to our local and regional ITT market.


University of York:

“I thoroughly researched the different pathways into teaching. I found the School Direct route provided me with the best of both worlds; the training and support of the School Direct partner, together with that of the PGCE team at the University of York. The School Direct support has been invaluable in suggesting my school placements, especially in a time of COVID restrictions, when visiting schools to gain experience has been really difficult.

“My experience of teacher training has been outstanding and humbling. It has been difficult and different with the issues a global pandemic brings. I am amazed by the flexibility and ability of staff and students alike, to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning and just get on with what needs doing. Everyone has risen to the challenge, and I am privileged to be a part of such an outstanding team and profession. It has been an amazing experience so far, and one I am glad I took. Throughout my training I have received all the support I need. No question is too daft or a request too much trouble. As a trainee, I receive regular bulletin updates and training sessions tailored to the needs of the course and experiences.”


York St John University:

“I chose the York St John School Direct partnership because York St John has an excellent reputation for training teachers. I was also keen to train with York St John due to its established history and reputation and because it provided the opportunity to be associated with this university while training within an alliance with excellent training schools. I was also keen to have the immersive experience of being in a school every day. I wanted to experience the day-to-day life of a teacher throughout the academic year whilst having the relevant amount of academic input. After completing my degree, I was keen to experience the school workplace as much as I could. I also wanted the opportunity to learn from experienced teachers, build professional relationships within a school and understand how a school runs so I feel more prepared going into my NQT year.”

“The York St John PGCE course provides all students with an opportunity to learn, develop and to maximise their teaching potential. York St John has an effective partnership with many schools and teaching alliances allowing you to develop and consolidate your understanding of effective teaching in numerous teaching environments. Academically the university provides a network of support for both personal and professional development. The subject tutors have a wealth of experience and knowledge helping to support you throughout the PGCE year. The mixture of academic support, personal wellbeing services and effective school partnerships make York St Johns PGCE course a superb platform to begin a career in teaching”.